Daniel Ben Abraham
The opposite of war is nuance

War in a Box

War in a Box
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Rabbi Lord Sacks wrote, “it is only by being what we uniquely are that we contribute to humankind what we alone can give.” And, our Jewish teachings say that we are not and should not be like the other nations, if we wish to be a light unto the nations.

A key to war strategy is, if you do nothing else, be unpredictable. But Israel is not allowed. Israel is fighting a war reliant on U.S. and global bureaucrats and politicians with a flurry of interests separate from Israel’s, and this mistake will cost Israeli lives and security. And the greatest danger in letting ambiguous at best U.S. and global interests direct Israel’s war in Gaza may be letting go of our own good judgment.

Israel is now fighting a war in which she is not allowed to win. Which makes sense, led by the United States which didn’t win in Vietnam, didn’t stop Bin Laden before 9/11, didn’t win in Afghanistan in 20 years, didn’t win in Iraq in 18 years, and is now in a two-year escalating stalemate with the Russia-Ukraine war, also funding both sides of that war. The U.S. runs wars not to win, but to become endless government programs passed on from one administration to the next, and Israel fell into the same trap.

Israel can’t fight endless wars. And with better strategy, Israel shouldn’t have to.

It’s easy to see how Netanyahu was led into this trap. Apparently as an agreed-to condition for U.S. support, Netanyahu agreed not to expand the war outside of Gaza, as Biden does not want yet another widening war as he approaches the election in November. But it was still a mistake to agree. Failure to hold Iran and Qatar responsible on October 8th will lead to more wars against Israel until our apparent predictability and the enemy’s perceived safety are undone. If Israel cannot fight a long-term war, whether for supply or political reasons, it must be reading, willing, and able to resolve wars quickly to deter the next one. Israel failed. Israel is fighting an “inside the box” war, and things can’t get better until that changes.

On December 23, the Wall Street Journal reported that Biden convinced Netanyahu to halt a preemptive strike against Hezbollah. And of course, that conflict is only escalating as a result.

The war was sabotaged from the start, when Arab countries immediately demanded no displacement of a single Palestinian from Gaza. After speaking with Secretary of State Blinken, the United States blindly adopted this disastrous position as policy. If Israel can’t move Palestinians out of the way, Israel can’t fight a war without looking evil in the media. The global Palestinian refugee embargo is what’s really keeping them in an open-air prison, not Israel. And of course, if the Palestinian population can’t vote with their feet and leave voluntarily, Hamas only gets more powerful the more war Hamas causes. Whereas, if Palestinians could voluntarily leave, Hamas would be harming the “cause” by causing conflict, and clashing with their own ideology. But it’s not allowed, right? The result is Hamas would still win in an election held today, and will begin to reconstitute the moment the military campaign ends.

Israel’s winning move from the beginning has been to allow Palestinians to voluntarily transfer, if they so choose, to the Sinai, temporarily or otherwise, to third countries or otherwise. but Israel filed to act according to her morals. If Egypt would not accept refugees at the Rafah border, Israel could have declared Egypt responsible for the humanitarian crisis, demanded all food be sent to the Sinai for Egypt to distribute, and forced open the border. Israel could have brought a case before the International Court of Justice for Egypt failing its obligations as a signatory to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and resolved the war before the trial. See:  Egypt threatened withdrawal from Camp David, but Israel holds all the negotiating cards with the ability to allow more voluntary transfer of Gazans if Egypt doesn’t cooperate. Israel should be viewed as committing a humanitarian act leading Gazans to safety and food across the border, and Egypt trying to keep the Palestinians starving in a war zone as the “atrocity.” By the way, why is there no dramatic video of Palestinians banging on the Rafah border wall begging for food and access, as should be on every screen in the world.

Israel dropped the ball, like on this potential deal to resettle Palestinians in the Sinai back in 2014. Abbas doesn’t have to agree. Recognizing a provisional Palestinian state in the Sinai would split the ideology in half. It would bring Palestinians everything that want, except closer to destroying Israel, giving Palestinians a choice between happiness and Hamas. Then, the more Hamas fights, the more Palestinians transfer to the Sinai and set up a thriving state as an alternate option. But again, we’re not allowed, right? There’s nothing immoral about giving Palestinians an additional state in the Sinai. If Hamas is such bad leadership that they force many Palestinians there, that’s not Israel’s fault. The point is, if Palestinians have a choice, to either leave or have a state in the Sinai, Israel isn’t as good a scapegoat – that’s why such a second option is opposed by the Arabs. And, Israel must take the conflict out of the zero-sum-game scenario so that helping Palestinians is not a stepping stone to destroying Israel. Point being, if Israel is going to recognize a Palestinian state, it should do so in the Sinai and see how that works out before betting the farm.

Why does the rest of the world help enforce the “open air prison”? Israel simply hasn’t been morally strong enough on giving the Palestinians a choice of freedom. That’s what “Free Palestine” should mean. Israel is afraid of being criticized for dislocating Palestinians, but if it’s their choice, Israel is the good guy for setting them free.

You know what else weakens Hamas ideologically? Annexing land they use to launch attacks, because then, there’s actually a political consequence to attacking Israel. But again, Israel is not allowed.

Then, Israel stood by and did nothing as the UAE, an Abraham Accord ally, invested $35 billion to bail out Egypt with land development West of Alexandria, just to avoid the correct use of those funds, enough to build an entire Palestinian state in the Sinai.

The next limitation was, that reportedly as part of the first release of hostages deal, Netanyahu promised that he will not attack Hamas members in Qatar. Netanyahu should have put a 60-day time limit on that promise, but he didn’t. Qatar and Egypt are not negotiating hostage deals out of the kindness of their hearts. They are keeping Israel just close enough to prevent Israel from doing what is needed. Had Israel demanded Qatar arrest Hamas leaders or we would hold Qatar responsible, from its leaders to its oil production, Israel would have been in a win-win situation.

Now, many countries are cutting off military aid to Israel, like a modern day Judenboykott from 1930’s Germany. A Netherlands court blocked F35 fighter jet parts to Israel. Belgium is not supplying gun powder. A Japanese company ended a partnership with an Israeli weapons manufacturer. And Italy and Spain both have embargoes on all weapons. More than 200 members of parliament have committed to banning arms to Israel, including in the U.K, Australia, France, Belgium, Canada, Brazil, Ireland, Turkey. Such efforts will only increase.

The next tragic limitation was Israel succumbing to U.S. and ally pressure, and only carrying out a symbolic attack on Iran. As a Passover miracle, the United States and many of the Arabs came to Israel’s side when Iran attacked. All the parties in all the wars realigned like a game of musical chairs. Iran’s weakness is that an escalating war with Israel would turn Iran into a liability instead of an asset for Putin, which Putin won’t tolerate. Iran knew it made a severe mistake in attacking Israel, by giving Israel full justification to severely hamper its nuclear program, oil, and weapons production in response, among other targets. The Iranian people could have had their freedom. Even President Erdogan of Turkey complained that Israel was escaping criticism on Gaza during that time. But instead, Israel said no to stopping the real threat of Iran’s nuclear program through the resulting chess game, and decided to go back to focusing on the distraction, the Palestinians. The Mullahs must have cheered before running to meet with Pakistani and North Korean officials days later, three guesses why.

The U.S. sends an aircraft carrier one day, and brings it home days later.

The U.S. helps defend Israel against Iran one day, and frees up $10 Billion in funds to Iran the next. In fact, after an announcement of $6 Billion is when October 7th happened.

The U.S. says its relationship with Israel is “iron-clad” one day, and days later abstains from a U.N. resolution calling for a ceasefire that doesn’t condemn Hamas, and stops ammunition shipments to Israel in the middle of a war to get hostages back, giving terrorists hope to continue fighting.

If Satan were running things, trying to encourage and fuel both sides into escalating war, he couldn’t be doing a much better job. Or, it could just be Biden’s moral and intellectual weakness – a riveting combination producing a similar result.

Such a two-faced U.S. Administration is incidentally classic Obama, who secretly pushed for and abstained from U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334. That resolution is the reason much of the world looks at Israel as an illegal occupier today. Fiercely anti-Israel Obama speaks to Biden regularly, speaks directly to the White House Chief of Staff, and up to 75% of White House staff has been his former staff. Obama hated Putin, Obama hated Netanyahu, had a mysteriously pro-Shiite Administration contrary to longstanding U.S. pro-Saudi policy (not to mention, walked without Secret Service with the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.) Such policies became strangely familiar again from day one of the current Administration. So if there’s anything worse than Obama, it’s Obama policies with no accountability.

Most Jewish Americans still have no understanding of how truly duplicitously the U.S. is juggling Israeli and anti-Israeli interests or why, or which side the coin will ultimately land on as the conflict worsens.

Mysteriously, the actions that Israel needs to take to win, are the very same actions the anti-Israel forces are pressuring the U.S. to pressure Israel not to take.

If Israel is not being faithful to her values, and God’s law, and her military, and her hostages, and her good judgment, and long-term security in order to artificially suppress the true conflict to help the Biden / Obama team get re-elected before things really fall apart, Israel should consider what four more years of such wars will do for Israel’s chances of survival.

About the Author
Daniel was born in Budapest, Hungary, to the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, and grew up in New York City. Daniel obtained his Bachelor's degree from Penn State University, has a Juris Doctorate with a specialization in public international law. He is the author of several books and articles, including The PeaceMatrix™, about a theoretical new system for solving all human conflicts. Daniel's approaches to the challenges of anti-Semitism, terrorism, and Israeli and international peace and security combine understandings of psychology, philosophy, law, Judaism and spirituality, and metaphysics.
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